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Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
PCT Sleeping Pad on 10/14/2010 14:29:46 MDT Print View

I am trying to decide on the perfect PCT Sleeping pad and it appears that I will have to compromise on at least one aspect. Here are the options.
1) NeoAir Regular at 14oz. Advantage - Major comfort, small size in pack. Disadvantage - Fear of holes especially in SoCal and I would rather not shell out $120 (not a show-stopper)
2) Ridgerest Deluxe at 11.7 oz. (Current setup) Advantage - Bulletproof, quick setup. Disadvantage - I'm a side sleeped and even the increased thickness is not a great night sleep.
3) 1/8" or 1/4" CCF with "patches" of Ridgerest Deluxe on the contact points. Advantages - Likely lightest option at about 10oz. and more comfortable than Ridgrest Deluxe. Disadvantage - Likely still not a very comfortable setup.

Notice there is no mention of insulation. My trip will be May 22nd until early Sept and I'm confident that I can stay warm with any of these setups. (I don't want to start a debate on the warmth of the Neoair)

I would love to get the thought from pevious thruhikers as well as others that hike in SoCal.

1) Are the chances of getting holes in a Neoair a showstopper in your mind?
2) If you were hiking the PCT which of the three option would you lean toward?

Edited by gg-man on 10/14/2010 14:30:18 MDT.

Graeme Finley
(gfinley001) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: PCT Sleeping Pad on 10/14/2010 15:05:35 MDT Print View

I'd question your initial assumption that you need one pad for the entire trip. I'm also a side sleeper (and got really skinny by the end of the trip). What I did was use a cut down Ridgerest (about 9oz) from Campo to Kennedy Meadows, then had a POE 2.5 inch inflatable pad delivered to me at KM (my wife called it my 'Princess Pad'). I used that from KM to Canada when I didn't need to worry too much about spiky plants anymore.

The best thing about using a solid pad in SoCal is that you can use it as a sit/lying pad during breaks. It will get full of stickers.

Christopher Mills
(Hiker816) - MLife

Locale: Denver
Re: PCT Sleeping Pad on 10/14/2010 18:57:03 MDT Print View

I hiked the southern most 1200 miles of the PCT this summer and used a short NeoAir the whole way. I did put it on top of a 1/8" Gossamer Gear thinlight, which I figured I'd be carrying anyway for use as a sit pat. With that combo, I got no leaks in the NeoAir, and it was by far the most comfortable sleep I've ever had in the woods. I camped on a lot of uneven and lumpy ground and never felt a thing through the pad.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
PCT Sleeping Pad on 10/14/2010 19:11:24 MDT Print View

Before you spend the $$$ on the NeoAir, check out the POE Ether Elite. About the same weight as the NeoAir and less than half the price. It also comes with its own stuff sack and repair kit, which the NeoAir does not.

Edited by hikinggranny on 10/14/2010 19:12:11 MDT.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
PCT Pad on 10/14/2010 20:38:21 MDT Print View

My advice (based on my PCT thru-hike):

Z-lite short pad, with 1 section cut off: 9 ounces
Learn to sleep on your back: 0 ounces

I started the trail as a side sleeper, but within a few weeks, I could sleep on my back no problem.

Arthur Forbes
(FNF) - F
Neoair on 10/14/2010 21:26:19 MDT Print View

I would not use a Neoair without a thin closed cell pad underneath it. I loved the comfort and it supported me very well - I have 5 herniated disk in my neck & back and a couple spinal fusions and I never woke up sore with this pad, until it got a pinhole leak and I woke up on the ground! This pad lasted me 10 nights in the Rockies before it leaked and I thought I was very careful clearing the ground and was in a tent with a floor.

I am sold on these inflatables, looking at getting a down filled one with heavier material because this is one piece of gear I can't get wrong.

If you do decide on the Neoair I have a small that has never been used and a xtra large with 10 nights & a pinhole repair that I will probably be putting on Gear Swap in a week and I would give you a great deal on so I can buy a Kooka Bay or similar pad.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Neoair on 10/14/2010 21:29:00 MDT Print View

Arthur,
If you haven't already, check out KookaBay. Custom down mats. Bender can basically make anything you want.

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: PCT Sleeping Pad on 10/14/2010 22:51:21 MDT Print View

I popped 2 air mats through socal. Others have made it fine, but everyone I met with an airmat had patches in them and had spent a few uncomfortable nights. It's hard to patch in socal as there are few places to submerge the mat and find the leak, so it took a few days before I could patch my mat.

My third airmat (neoair) made it from kennedy north without a problem.

Bottom line, if I did it again I wouldn't use an airmat in the desert. Exhaustion will mean you can fall asleep anywhere.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
airmat with ccf pad likely okay on 10/15/2010 10:29:36 MDT Print View

I've never had a leak in an air mattress. For the PCT, I used Montbell's torso pad plus "toggles to it" pillow system, but I put that on TOP of a full length 3/8" pad.

My reasoning was that for the first 700 miles I wanted the thick 3/8" ccf pad in part to prevent things from degrading or popping my ccf pad, in part to add more cushioning, and in part so I could use the pad as thermal protection *against* heat for a siesta during the day. I never actually did the latter as in my year we were fairly fortunate with the heat (at least I was), but it was there as an option. The full length ccf pad was also kind of deluxe for taking a lunch break during the day.

I kept the 3/8" pad in the Sierras on the theory that I wanted the thermal protection at night. And by the time I was through the Sierras I was strong enough and sleeping comfortably enough with that system that I just stuck with it.

I think that if I were doing it again (tempting ...), I'd go with a torso-length Neo-air and a 1/4" ccf thinlight pad for the first thousand miles (plus maybe a sitpad), then swap to a 1/8" thinlight thereafter. Or maybe just a 1/8" thinlight throughout. Neo-air plus thinlight(s) got me through the AT this year fine with --- again --- nary a leak.

Sean Nordeen
(Miner) - F - M

Locale: SoCAL
Foam Pad on 10/16/2010 15:58:55 MDT Print View

In 2009, I use a Gossemer Gear Torso pad (3.5oz) + one of their full length 1/8" thinpad (1.8oz). I used 2 torso pads over the hike and wished I had gone with 3 since the egg crate pattern does collapse after awhile. I was happy with this setup and was fine being warm in the snow I had at the end in early October at the Canadian border. I though it was comfortable (more so then my ridgerest), but I did look for softer spots to sleep on and avoided those 20years of hard use camp spots that tent users tend to look for since I cowboyed camped all but 9nights. I figured having a foam pad was just one less thing to go wrong and I can't complain about the weight.

Edited by Miner on 10/16/2010 16:00:42 MDT.